A pressure group, Governance Watch has expressed its disappointment in the president, Nana Akufo-Addo, over his reactions to calls to scrap a military cooperation agreement between Ghana and the US.
As part of the agreement that was ratified in Parliament in March, the US forces will have unfettered access to certain key security and other installations, as well as diplomatic immunity while the US government is also expected to spend $20 million in training and supplying equipment for the Ghana Armed Forces.
Ghana is also expected to bear the cost for securing US military facilities in the country, according to the ratified agreement.
Also, Clause 3 of Article 2 of the Agreement states: “United States forces may undertake the following types of activities in Ghana: training; transit:support and related activities; refueling of aircraft; landing and recovery of aircraft, accommodation of personnel; communications; staging and deploying of forces and materiel: exercises; humanitarian and disaster relief; and other activities as mutually agreed.”
President Akufo-Addo, who addressed the nation last week after a demonstration by some civil society groups and the Minority in Parliament, said “Ghana has not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America.”
But Governance watch says it has observed the conversations around the subject and has concluded that the issues that bothered many, including their outfit, remains “unaddressed” by the president.
“Much of our disappointment is registered in the manner and way the President addressed the nation and targeted individual citizens who sought to show dissent to the said agreement which is waiting for execution on his table,” the statement added.
Below is the full statement:
GOVERNANCE WATCH ON THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA MILITARY PACT WITH GHANA
We have watched and followed closely, discussions bothering on the use of facilities within Ghana by the United States of America for its Military operation over a period unspecified in an agreement between the Government of Ghana and the United States of America which is a subject matter for the protracted debate since it became public.
We watched closely, the opportunity missed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to unite this country and to provide very cogent answers to questions that were begging for answers since this matter became public.
Much of our disappointment is registered in the manner and way the President addressed the nation and targeted individual citizens who sought to show dissent to the said agreement which is waiting for execution on his table.
We wish to remind the President, Nana Akuffo Addo, that Ghana is a democratic state, which grants the rights to free speech and freedom of expression to all citizens. We also want to reiterate the fact that the government and especially the President, recognizes the fact that the right to free speech and expression does not in any way, demand the singing of praises on decisions taken by a ruling government.
We want to reiterate the point, poignantly, that the issues that bothered many, including our outfit, remains unaddressed.
The agreement in its current state and form, undermines our sovereignty as a nation. That military officials of the United States of America, would be granted unfettered and unimpeded access to our land is unfortunate and undermines our authority as a nation.
That as a nation state, with a constitution that guarantees its sovereignty, individuals within our jurisdiction, could commit crimes and cannot be subjected to the laws of our nation, is to say the least, an unfortunate concession any serious nation could make.
The agreement, in its current form and state, does not spell out limitations to the nature of weapons the United States of America is allowed to carry into our dear country . That is a danger to our very survival as a nation considering the nuclear capacity of the United States of America.
We wish to drive the point, that it is important for the President, to be measured in addressing concerns of citizens be they political opponents or civil society organizations as these are the only means through which we can deepen our democracy and continue to lead in the practice of democracy on the African continent.
Governance bothers on the overall interests of the collective, and the government must recognize the fact that it is not the repository of knowledge, could make mistakes, and must be ready and willing, to imbibe into its decisions, concerns of Ghanaians in whatever form it comes.
We want to demand from the President, and the government in general, to, as a matter of urgency, review this agreement if at all necessary, to reflect the interests and aspirations of all Ghanaians.
We have seen a similar agreement entered into by Kenya with the United Kingdom in 2015 titled “Agreement
between the Government of the Republic of Kenya and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Concerning Defence Cooperation” signed in Nairobi, on the 9th of December 2015. In this agreement, Kenya, being mindful of the fact that it is a sovereign state, has ensured that there is absolute control of individuals within its territory and had established its sovereign power over its jurisdiction.
We advice the government to examine the Kenyan example and be able to extract to the people of Ghana, an agreement that would generally satisfy their concerns and to ensure we are enjoy our peace as a nation.
Stephen Kwabena Attuh
Adomako Fred William